Following last week’s look at the most anticipated PlayStation 3 titles of 2012, Electronic Theatre today presents the top picks for Xbox 360 gamers. With the current-generation coming of age there is obviously a considerable amount of crossover between the release schedules of the two formats, but there’s also a number of titles promising format exclusive features, for which the Xbox 360 is arguably in a much stronger position.
As is typically the case, Electronic Theatre’s Sunday Special feature concentrates on the retail releases set to be available in 2012, however the Xbox 360 is still receiving many interesting alternatives through its online delivery platforms, most notably Xbox LIVE Arcade. If there were to be any slow periods for releases in 2012 – a highly doubtful situation – then it’s the digital offerings that would surely pick up the slack. Below follows the Electronic Theatre team’s picks for the most anticipated retail releases for the Xbox 360 in 2012, and we will of course keep you updated with all the latest details on each and every one.
10. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
Capcom’s latest high-definition (HD) outing for the Resident Evil franchise takes an unusual turn. Sitting somewhere between Left 4 Dead and the early titles in the Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six series, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is an intriguing mix of tactics and panic. Electronic Theatre was recently able to get hands-on with Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, and though it proved to be a buggy experience at present, it remained an absorbing one. Hopes are high that Capcom can deliver on the promise of a new design for the Resident Evil series.
9. The Darkness II
The original The Darkness was a sorely underrated title that only truly began to receive the attention it deserved once it had been relegated to the bargain bin. With the attention being lavished upon this sequel it’s unlikely that The Darkness II will go the same way, but then with a different developer at the helm, a different aesthetic quality and a different agenda, Electronic Theatre is currently uncertain as to whether it’ll be the sequel we all expect.
8. Aliens: Colonial Marines
Announced by publisher SEGA in 2006, before being unannounced by developers Gearbox Software shortly thereafter. In 2008 it was reaffirmed that Aliens: Colonial Marines was on the way, and last year official details were finally revealed of exactly how the videogame will play. A squad based first-person shooter (FPS) in which the player can set commands for the rest of their marine squad, Aliens: Colonial Marines is another take on the popular Left 4 Dead multiplayer scenario in a similar fashion to Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. Here however, players will return to the Sulaco space vessel featured in Aliens on a search and rescue mission, hoping to locate the cast of the film.
7. Ninja Gaiden 3
Tecmo Koei Europe has received a considerable amount of criticism for Ninja Gaiden 3, and most of it unwarranted. While the core Ninja Gaiden audience are concerned about the suggested lack of difficulty this new iteration and the more causal fighting videogame fans are opposed for the opposite reason, Electronic Theatre is happy to alleviate such fears: both audiences will be catered for in Ninja Gaiden 3. In our hands-on time with the videogame, Electronic Theatre witnessed difficulty settings that will cater for all ability levels.
6. Grand Theft Auto V
“Why on earth is Grand Theft Auto V only in sixth place?” You might well wonder. There is a very simple answer to this question however: we know almost nothing about it. A logo and a single teaser trailer, for most other videogames, would normally mean very little indeed. For the Grand Theft Auto series however, that’s confirmation that it’s on its way, and it’s going to be a memorable event for the videogames industry. Whether it’ll actually be any good isn’t the point: it’s the fact that it’s officially happening that’s important.
5. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
Delayed, delayed, delayed delayed. That’s seemingly been the ethos of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier thus far. Electronic Theatre has had the pleasure if getting hands-on with the forthcoming videogame at several events over the past two years and at each Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier has looked very different to the previous outing. Here’s hoping Ubisoft will stop tinkering and actually release the videogame.
4. BioShock Infinite
2K Games has been a bit quiet on the BioShock Infinite front of late, perhaps not wanting to take the attention away from their other big name FPS release, the above mentioned The Darkness 2. The third title in the critically acclaimed BioShock series, BioShock Infinite takes players away from the confines of Rapture and ascends to Columbia, a city above the clouds. This change of location brings a whole new set of mechanics to the world of BioShock, and simply seeing whether Irrational Games are able to recreate the magic of the original in this all new environment is surely the most exciting prospect of BioShock Infinite.
3. Max Payne 3
Rockstar Games’ take on Remedy Entertainment’s blockbuster franchise has been a long time coming, but thankfully it’s looking set to be all we’d hoped for. Max Payne 3 sees our gruff anti-hero leaving his home town of New York and journeying to Brazil, working in the private security sector for a wealthy local family. However, nothing is ever straight forward for Max, and it surely won’t be long before his past catches up with him.
2. Mass Effect 3
Although Mass Effect 3 is coming to many formats, it’s arguably the Xbox 360 version with Electronic Theatre is most eagerly awaiting. Reasons for this are two fold: firstly, we can see our choices from the very first videogame in the series through the second change in the way that Mass Effect 3 evolves, and secondly the Kinect compatibility. Even though Windows PCs will have Kinect available for them by the time Mass Effect 3 arrives, the Kinect features remain exclusive to the Xbox 360. While it may not be make-or-break for the videogame, it currently seems as though rival formats will be lacking the ‘feature complete’ feel of the Xbox 360 version.
1. Halo 4
Nearly a year after its original reveal, we still know very little about Halo 4. Intended as the first part in a new trilogy, known as the ‘Reclaimer Trilogy’, Halo 4 is expected to launch this winter, and so will likely feature heavily in Microsoft Studios’ upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) showcase this June. In the meantime, all we’ve got to go on is a handful of titbits.
We know that we will see the return of Master Chief in a starring role for the first time since 2007 (not including last year’s high-definition makeover of the original Halo: Combat Evolved) and we can assume that vehicles will play a big part in the Halo 4 due to the development team at 343 Industries hiring a racing videogame specialist. But what else do we know? Only that Halo 4 will change the appearance of our hero significantly, and that the storyline will concentrate on that of the Forerunners, the developers of ancient technology far in advance of anything currently available to human armies.